Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Indoor Walkways, Hallways, Elevators,

At The Shops

On Friday I went to Channel Court Shopping Centre in Kingston, the nearest suburban mall to Geeveston. It’s about 50km from here. The friend I was with needed to get batteries for his watch and car keys so while he was doing that I snapped a few pictures with my phone. I don’t like to take my DSLR on shopping trips but the phone will take a good enough picture.

Channel Court Shopping Centre would only take up a tiny corner of the massive Marina Bay Sands shopping mall in Singapore.

A rather nice shopping arcade in Brisbane.

Shopping aboard Ovation of the Seas

Share Your World 2019: 21 October

Questions

Had any good conversations with yourself lately? Did you listen to yourself? And how’d that work out for you?   (Credit Allie Bean   https://thespectacledbean  )

I try to give myself good advice and I usually take it. Of course, I don’t have a one hundred per cent success rate but I haven’t fired myself yet.

What is gravity and how does it work?

Gravity is the force that keeps us all from floating off the planet. Of course, if I were a Flat Earther I’d probably say that I didn’t believe in gravity and that it was all fake news.

What is more real – Mind or Matter? 

When we are asked to do things that we really balk at we’re told it is mind over matter. Often that means the person insisting doesn’t mind and it doesn’t matter what we think.

Should a vegetarian (or vegan) eat animal crackers? 

Technically I suppose that a vegan shouldn’t as they have dairy products in them. Some people might be too PC to eat them anyway I guess.

Name (describe) something you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark and deserted wood or alley.   Politicians are a given, so skip those please.  Thanks! 

A tree or a wall. I have terrible night vision and I’d walk into something I couldn’t see or more likely fall over and hurt myself. Alternatively, this guy.

Image by Voltordu from Pixabay

Or these guys.

Life of a Hedge 2019

Every year since it was planted in September 2014 I have taken a photo of the photinia hedge in my front garden.

Cindy investigates the new plants
Photinia Hedge 2018

Five years have passed since then and now the hedge is looking magnificent. It is always at its best in spring when there is a growth spurt and it is covered in new red leaves. It has got so big now that when I am coming home on the bus I can tell the driver, “Drop me off near the house with the red hedge.”

It has survived the early attacks of possums or wallabies who chewed the leaves. It survived the neighbours who like to drive their quad bikes in front of my house and the postie who pulls up beside the hedge to get to the mailbox. It has survived dry summers when I didn’t like to water it too often in case it seemed wasteful, especially last summer when we had the bushfires and we were afraid the local supply might not be enough for the firefighters.

Taken from the same spot I took photos in previous years.

Now it is a home for small birds who hide in it. I see them popping in and out from between the leaves in the morning when I am waiting for my ride to the shop.

Finally, I’d like to show you the backup tree. When I ordered the original plants the garden guys suggested that I buy an extra one in case any died. That way we could replace it and there would not be a gap in the hedge. I took their advice and bought one which I planted myself at the bottom of the back garden near the compost bin. As it happened I did lose a couple of trees but not in the first year and the others had grown sufficiently that the gap would be covered. Just as well too because the backup tree grew like crazy and after a year or so was much bigger than its front yard relations. Looking at it today it is hard to believe they are the same age.

Photinias are sometimes grown as trees and this one flowers regularly. This article rather unkindly states that they are rather unattractive flowers and smell bad. Granted they are not the most attractive flowering plants in the world but people mostly grow them for the leaves. I never expected my little plant at the bottom of the garden to turn into a big, leafy tree but it does a good job of blocking part of the view of “Ugly House” behind me.

MIA

outdoor chess set

This blog has been a bit quiet lately. I haven’t had time to take photos and at present even searching for old ones takes up more energy than I can spare. Two reasons, one is that we are preparing for a big sale at our Op Shop on Saturday and I have been there a couple of extra days. There is so much stuff to tote around that when I get home I’m almost too tired to even think.

Secondly, there is some movement with my house sale at last. Not a done deal as yet but moving in that direction and that is also occupying my thoughts.

I hope to try and at least do some challenge posts this week but if I don’t rest assured that I will be back.

House Moving Day

I thought that one of the neighbours at the back of my house must be getting some work done recently, there have been diggers there and one day, a cement mixer. Then last Friday I noticed a huge crane had arrived. It appears I am getting a new neighbour. The crane was lifting a house into place.

The houses directly at the back of me are all transportable homes and were put in about ten years ago now I think. The former owner of the land built this small subdivision consisting of six or eight house blocks behind us, built an access road, and we watched as fences went up and the houses arrived. Up until that time we had an old post and rail fence separating us from the empty paddocks. The developer discovered that part of our land belonged to him, there are a lot of dodgy property lines in Tasmania. We had to lose a couple of metres but he did not ask us to pay half the cost of the new fence so it didn’t work out too badly for us. I was happy to have a more secure fence and happy it was high enough that I could not see much of the ugly houses when they arrived. Honestly, the one directly at the back of me has to be one of the ugliest transportable houses I have ever seen.

The Scene in 2009

October 2019

I looked into the back yard soon after the crane arrived and realised that they were getting ready to lift the new house of the truck it had arrived on. I had plenty of time to get the camera.

I watched as the crane operators attached cables to the house and lifted it high to swing it into position.

I know it was the angle I was viewing from but it honestly looked as if the swinging house was going to hit the one next door to it.

Finally, the house was lowered into what seemed to be an odd position, slightly at an angle to its neighbours. Now it just has to be connected to services and the owners can move in.

Scottish Memories- Fort William to Inverness

This is another look back to a post from my early blogging days. On this day in 2014, I posted the third in a series of posts about our visit to Scotland in 1990. I have edited it slightly but it more or less as I wrote it at the time. I don’t think it is likely that I will ever visit the UK again but when I dream of places I would like to see again Scotland is always one of them.


This is the last post about our trip to Scotland in 1990. We were only there a week. How I wish we’d had longer. I guess that’s why I’m so attracted to television programs and films set in Scotland. Not “Braveheart” though. Too bloodthirsty. I preferred “Local Hero”. On television I liked “Shetland”, “Hamish McBeth”, “Taggart” and “Takin’ Over the Asylum” (even before I’d ever heard of David Tennant).

Our train is delayed.
Our train is delayed.

The last leg of our journey was partly based on “Confessions of a Train Spotter” an episode of  the BBC television series “Great Railway Journeys”. The narrator of this episode was Michael Palin and I sometimes wonder if it was this program that started him on his career as a globetrotting documentary maker. In this episode he travelled from London to the west coast of Scotland by train ending his journey at Kyle of Localsh. We loved the scenery so much that when we planned our trip we decided that we wanted to see the West Highland line and Kyle of Localsh too.

Fort William

Loch Linnhe near Fort William

By Nilfanion (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

First we travelled from Glasgow to Fort William which is on the shore of Loch Linnhe, a large sea loch on the west coast. That journey was very scenic and we didn’t even mind the signal failure that delayed us en route. Our “Let’s Go” guide book described Fort William as being a climbing centre for nearby Ben Nevis and rather a boring town but we really liked it. One day while we waiting at the railway station  I saw a railway cleaner washing a carriage on the platform . Cleaning trains was my job in Adelaide at the time and I often did exactly the same job myself. I remember thinking that it would be nice if I could exchange jobs with that person for a while and stay in Fort William for longer.

We had been staying in youth hostels for a couple of weeks so in Fort William we treated ourselves to a bed and breakfast place. There were a few other guests who we met at breakfast the next day. A lady who had just returned from a trip on a sail training vessel which we saw in the loch later and another Australian couple who were a bit younger than us. I’m sure most people know about the concept of “Six degrees of separation”. Well we had that experience. We chatted to this young couple and it turned out that they were from South Australia like us and they lived in a nearby suburb. But the best part of the story happened more than a year later back in Australia. One day when David was on the train home from work, he met the guy who we’d met in Fort William and discovered that he and his wife had moved to our suburb. What are the odds of that?

Loch Linnhe at Fort William.
Loch Linnhe at Fort William.
Sail training ship on Loch Linnhe
Sail training ship on Loch Linnhe

At Fort William we had haggis for the first time; we liked it. We had plunger coffee for the first time at the cafe in the Mountain Shop which probably started our coffee addiction.  We had a huge pot of it for a Scottish “poond”. We walked 3 miles from the town to the beginning of the path to Ben Nevis.  Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland at 1344m (4,406 ft). We had no intention of climbing the mountain although many do, we knew our limitations even in those days. The photo that David took of me at Glen Nevis is one of my favourites and that day was one of the best of our entire trip for me.

Near Ben Nevis
Near Ben Nevis
On the slopes of Ben Nevis pretending to be a mountain climber.
On the slopes of Ben Nevis pretending to be a mountain climber.

We also went on a bus tour to Glen Coe scene of the infamous massacre of the McDonald Clan by the Campbell’s. Our guide, if I remember correctly, said that the historical facts of the massacre were not quite the same as popular history suggests. Of course he may have been a Campbell himself ! However there has certainly been a lot written on the subject, some of it factual and some not so much. I did have to agree with our guide that the scenery alone is worth going there for whatever the truth of what happened is.

The West Highland Railway

Another highlight was the train journey from Fort William to Mallaig on the West Highland line. In summer you can ride a steam train on that route but we were too early in the season. However it didn’t matter. It was another day of beautiful views and impressive railway engineering. In particular the fabulous Glen Finnan Viaduct. You can’t actually appreciate how amazing this is when you are on it as well as you can in this photograph.

Glenfinnan Viaduct.jpg
Glenfinnan Viaduct” by de:Benutzer:Nicolas17 – Self-photographed. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Mallaig is a fishing port and we enjoyed wandering around the town for a few hours. The fishing boats were very picturesque. I would have liked to have taken a ferry to Skye from there. It’s certainly a place I would love to visit again.

Fishing boats at Mallaig
Fishing boats at Mallaig
Fishing Boats at Mallaig
Fishing Boats at Mallaig

Kyle of Localsh

Our journey to Kyle of Localsh from Fort William was an anti climax in some ways as we had to take a bus, a very crowded bus, which we were obliged to stand up on for most of the journey. As I am short that meant that I was not able to see very much of the scenery.

At that time there was no bridge to connect the town with the Isle of Skye so we took the short ferry trip across to Kyleakin, so that we could say that we had been “Over the sea to Skye”. The bridge was opened in 1995 and it is now free to use, initially it charged a toll which became a contentious issue for local people, so much so that many refused to pay it. The toll was removed in 2004. We took a photograph of the Kyle of Localsh Station sign but unlike Michael Palin we didn’t take a replica home with us. Nor did we sample the variety of malt whiskies served at the nearby Localsh Hotel. Instead we continued our journey by train on another scenic route, the line to Inverness.

Kyle of Localsh Station
Kyle of Localsh Station

Wick

At Inverness we stayed at a small hotel popular with rail enthusiasts. I had found the address in one of David’s rail magazines. They were happy to leave breakfast supplies outside our door when we chose to go out early in the morning on a day trip to Wick. We were a bit surprised that they left toast though. I hadn’t realised that in parts of the UK people ate cold toast.

Wick and Thurso are as far as you can go by train in the UK. We chose Wick as our destination for a day outing. Wick is a fishing port and once again I was captivated by the fishing boats. Wick was originally a Viking settlement and it would have been interesting to spend more time exploring the area which has ruins, walks and wildlife to see. I think a car would have been handy up here though.

Fishing boat at Wick
Fishing boat at Wick
Fishing boat at Wick
Fishing boat at Wick

Loch Ness

We couldn’t leave Inverness without travelling to nearby Loch Ness. We took a local bus to visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle. We also visited a local museum which had a lot of information about the loch and the various expeditions that had been made to try to find the elusive Loch Ness Monster. I have to say that on the day that we were there we didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. There have been a lot of hoaxes over the years and I think that I would be sorry in a way if scientists were able to prove or disprove that there was a creature living in Loch Ness. The mystery of it is part of the attraction. Either way tourist operators and businesses in the region have done well out of “Nessie”. 

We watched the movie “Loch Ness”  released in 1996 which starred Ted Danson. It wasn’t a brilliant movie, we watched it for the scenery really, but we did like the ending where Nessie is left in peace. I thought the castle ruins were very atmospheric and I liked hearing the piper who was playing there the day we visited.

Ruins of Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness
Ruins of Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness
Urquhart Castle ruins
The ruins of Urquhart Castle from above
The Piper
Piper at Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness

We left Inverness finally and took the train all the way back to London and then on to Bexhill-on-Sea to spend Easter before travelling around southern England and North Wales. As you can tell from how much I have written twenty-five years have not made me forget how much I loved being in Scotland and I’d go again in a heartbeat if I could.

 

Further Reading:

http://www.electricscotland.com/books/paterson/glencoe.htm – The Massacre at Glencoe

http://www.seat61.com/WestHighlandLine.htm#Fort%20William%20to%20Mallaig – The Man in Seat 61 blog

http://www.lochalsh.co.uk/skye_bridge.shtml – Skye Bridge story

http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/index.htm